The Magpie Gloves owe a debt to anonymous knitters long dead, to those such as Mary Allen (1857–1924), the skilled glove knitter from Yorkshire, and to many makers very much alive! These gloves combine old and new elements—from Yorkshire, England; Sanquhar, Scotland; Kihnu Island, Estonia; and elsewhere—to make a fun-to-knit project. The gloves’ use of color reflects those found in old gloves, mittens, and socks all over Europe that have been knitted through the years—a strong dark-and-light contrast and a touch of red for luck.
The techniques include a two-color long-tail cast-on from Europe, a two-color rib from Yorkshire, and knitting in the round with two colors, a technique found all over the knitting world. Because this project is relatively small, it offers a good way to try these techniques for the first time. The asymmetric thumb gussets that give the gloves a great fit and appearance is a construction found in vintage patterns and also in some modern Japanese glove patterns. By the way, feel free to adapt as you wish; for instance, if you can’t do a long-tail cast-on, just do your usual one.
The yarn, Pip Colourwork, is a blend of pure British wool spun in Yorkshire, from a company called Baa Ram Ewe based in the Yorkshire city of Leeds. The company has put pure wool yarns from Yorkshire on the map and aims to bring Yorkshire wool to the world. The wool has plenty of character with lots of bounce and a great selection of colors, and it is forgiving of dropped stitches and a little unevenness in knitting!
Dr. Angharad Thomas is a researcher, designer, and knitter, especially of gloves, from ancient to modern. Originally a geographer, her career has included teaching, designing, and lecturing. Knitwear design has taken her to Europe, North America, Japan, Australia, and India. She is a volunteer curator at the collection of the United Kingdom’s Knitting & Crochet Guild. When not knitting or curating, she hikes, gardens, and plays the accordion. Her (occasional) blog is at www.knittinggloves.wordpress.com.
This pattern is available in the Fall 2019 issue of PieceWork.